October 3, 2007
There's nothing wrong with 'Average Joe' tag
Certain political leaders, celebrities and other power brokers, such as bankers and wealth managers, condescendingly call the great majority - at least in the United States –“everyday” and “little” people. I do not think of myself in this way. Talk shows and news programs reference “common” people and the “average” American. But, who wants to be one of them?
I do! Being neither royalty nor slave, I am middle class. Cultural distinctions started with Cain and Abel and the "club" mentality continues. Unfortunately, cliques judge and ostracize others, leveraging differences - social, political, economic, cultural, racial and even religious.
However, in the United States, my “middle class-ness” probably places me along side the vast majority of folks who have earned their way to whatever level of success they enjoy. Being healthy, energetic, educated, alert, hard-working and involved with and for others, my demographics place me in the mainstream - at least in the USA; not necessarily prominent, but certainly important.
Beginning at age 13, my “work for pay” included: newspaper delivery, fast food, grocery store, cleaning crews, school bus driver, assembly line, fork-lift operator, shipping clerk and administrative assistant. Each job taught me to respect the hard work of others.
My “moneymaking” assignments assured me that I was definitely everyday, little and average. At least, that is what some callous and self-obsessed individuals communicated, appearing to look "down their noses" at my humble labor. Even worse are those with "invisible" jobs, especially evident to employees who escort individuals using wheel chairs in airports and hospitals.
Thankfully, snob-like insensitivity taught me the value of taking time with others, in all walks of life, getting to know about them and confirming their importance. To strengthen society, including those in the workplace, you can:
- Learn how others spend their time when they are otherwise engaged, and not driving a taxi, shining shoes, busing tables, picking up trash, cleaning homes and offices, holding a flag along a highway construction project, unclogging a water pipe, carrying a golf bag, serving coffee, writing a speeding ticket, putting out a fire, driving an ambulance - and the list goes on.
- Acknowledge the worth and dignity of services provided by offering thanks for assistance in locating elusive items - especially at groceries and pharmacies.
- Motivate others by passing along the goodwill you might have received earlier in your life, sometimes countering discouraging comments, which you successfully overcame to become the person you are today.
From Oliver Goldsmith's “The Deserted Village”: "But a bold peasantry (read: middle class), their country's pride - when once destroyed, can never be supplied."
The middle class, with its integrity, is the foundation of any healthy society, with or without being prominent.